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COVID-19, Racial Disparities, and the White “Pivot”

Summer 2023

Project Background

This paper will analyze the role that race and ethnicity influenced public and elected officials' perception of COVID-19. At the beginning of COVID-19, officials frequently remarked that epidemics don't care about an individual's race or ethnicity. That has clearly not been true. In this project we will collect and analyze four different sources of data. First, we will look across states at the timing and scope of race and ethnicity data related to COVID. Second, we will collect public opinion data on the severity of the pandemic. Third, we will collect media coverage of health disparities, race, ethnicity, and COVID. Lastly, we will collect Congressional floor speech on the same type of speech as the media coverage. We will then bring these discrete data sources together to understand the ways which the changing views of who is at risk to COVID and the emergence of disparities shape policy and political outcomes.

Student Role

The student will be responsible for contributing to the collection and analyzing of data. Under the supervision of the research team, the student will be taught about the data sources and have the opportunity to practice collecting primary data. Once the data is collected, the student will use a coding scheme developed by the research team to analyze the data after it is collected. This coding scheme will be used to capture data on the policy domain, topics, tone, and other vital pieces of information.

Student Learning Outcomes and Benefits

Student will learn about data collection and analysis, work on a large research team across multiple campuses (other researchers are at the University of Michigan and Cornell University), and on the preparation of a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

Phillip Singer

Assistant Professor
Social & Behavioral Science
Political Science

My mentoring philosophy is focused on providing opportunities for students to learn and gain new skills in a safe setting. Research is a skill, that means with practice we can get better at it. Regardless of your prior research experience, we can all learn new ways to work and to gain understanding in research. I take a hands on approach to mentoring, providing guidance and doing the work along with the student until they feel comfortable with the tasks. I have successfully mentored many undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, I have had 18 peer-reviewed publications where I have worked with students. The specific mentoring activities that I engage in are meetings to discuss the project, answer questions, and work together on the data collection and coding. Additionally, I view SPUR as part of a broader introduction to research and the topic of political science, public policy, and public health. As such, we can meet discuss those topics as part of our mentoring activities.